I swear, I think I must have an invisible sign over my head that says, “Attention American Airline employees: make sure her bag will fit in the overhead” that only turns visible in the presence of said American Airline employees. Because once again, I was stopped before boarding my flight by a surly faced woman in an American Airlines uniform, telling me that my bag was going to be too big to fit in the compartment above me. It never happens with Delta employees. Not Frontier ones, either. And not Southwest or JetBlue – and I’ve been on all those brands of planes since the last time this happened.
Anyway, if you’ve been read our blog long enough, or just surmised it from the previous paragraph, you’ll know that I’ve been down this road before and I know my bag will fit because I purposely bought a bag that airline crew members get, precisely because it always fits. Meanwhile, she started this challenge when I was working on 4.5 hours of sleep and my coffee hadn’t really kicked in yet, so my manners were pretty much out the window.
“Ma’am, your bag is too big to fit in the overhead. You’ll have to gate check it.””
Again? Really? Really? Stare. Glare.
“No, it’s not too big,” I said.
“Yes, it is,” said she of the sour puss and apparent need for control.
“Wanna bet?” I retorted.
“Ma’am, your bag looks like it’s too wide to fit. It has to fit within the parameters of the carry on size check over here, please.”
Now, I get it. I’m pint sized and maybe my regulation 14 x 22 x 9 bag just LOOKS much bigger because I’m so small in comparison. You know, forced perspective. But OK fine, let’s go do what you insist we gotta do…
So we move over 3 feet to the right, and she slowly and carefully put my bag into the size checker. Of course, once again, it didn’t fit all the way in because, just like last time, my pillow was in it and puffed the bag out. If you push it at all, it slides right in. But if you do little more than try to gently lay it on top of the size checker, of course it won’t fit.
I told her it was because of my pillow and I’d just take that out and it would fit. Disgruntled employee said, “OK but then what will you do with your pillow if you take it out?” I rolled my eyes so far back that I was practically looking backwards and said I’d keep it behind my back.
She seemed satisfied with that plan (HALLELUJAH!), so I opened the bag and took the pillow out and of course it fit then, because I was annoyed so I practically slammed my bag into the size checker (Joe said the look on my face was priceless) as I said, probably a little too snottily but again, I was tired and annoyed and not on my best behavior, “See? I told you so.”
Unimpressed and determined to still win, she then told me that the 3rd bag I was holding would have to go into another bag.
“What third bag?” I asked. She pointed to my Tempurpedic pillow that was in a roll and held in its own cylindrical case with a handle.
“That’s not a bag, see?,” waving it probably a little too close to her face. “It’s a pillow I usually keep it behind my back when I’m not forced to put my regular pillow behind my back to prove that my bag will fit in the overhead.”
Bag interrogation over, I was allowed on my not-so-merry way, as the next person from the pool of passengers with potentially “too big bags” was told to put her bag in the size checker.
The other American gate check employee, who was was checking peoples’ tickets before they got on the plane, made it a point to tell the bag size Nazis that there wasn’t enough room to pull that many people for the size of their bags.
I passive- aggressively got some satisfaction from that ;-).
Joe was now about 5 people in front on me but when I caught up to him in our row, he put my carry on onto the seats and I put my pillow back in. And guess what?
It still fit in the overhead.
Take that, Nazi bag check lady…
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary